Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oh how I love Paris!

It was a long time in coming, but I finally made it back to Vegas after a two year show hiatus thanks to my daughter and her insistence that we see Barry's show together one last time. Since I hadn't seen the show since it moved from the Hilton, I was looking forward to finally seeing it for myself and not just through the eyes of others. I had heard so much about it and about the theater itself that I was antsy with anticipation.My good Britfriend, Joanne, kindly offered to let me use her free tickets she won during the 15 Minutes promotion. We scored some seats in the center orchestra section about 10 rows from the stage, smack dab among all the fans. My daughter immediately noticed the fan conclave at the front of the auditorium and asked, "Are those women Barry's hostesses?" Of course, it was half sarcastic and I explained that the fans hang out at the front before the show. She said, "Why?". Oh the questions that "civilians" ask and the answers that fans come up with to justify odd behavior. (But that's for another blog).

The theater itself was gorgeous: the chandeliers, the red interior draped walls, the large stage. I loved the backdrop (curtain) with the french flair and was looking forward to the show. We settled in our seats and prepared to be amazed. Once the show started, I made a phone call to my Australian friend Kim so she could share in the excitement. I wonder how many phone calls were made that weekend to let other fans listen in to the show? Over the years, I've been a person on the other end of some of those calls, especially during conventions, hoping to hear a once-in-a-lifetime performance, as we were all hoping for that night.

Since there has already been some reviews about the show, I won't go into details. I will, however, tell you my first impression seeing the Paris show after two years and how I felt it compared to the show at the Hilton. The obvious difference was the size of the stage and the absence of the side stage seats. For Barry, less opportunity to be mauled by over zealous fans. For the fans, less opportunity for those special moments (putting on his coat, dancing with him, singing with him). I believe this non-fan interaction changed the show on some level, making it seem less personal and more Vegasy. Although, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing, just a change.

There were however, some changes in the show format and staging that I absolutely loved. The first was the huge MANILOW as a backdrop, along with the art and photos that dropped down over the stage at various moments during the performance. It made the show classy and gave a production air to it that wasn't there at the Hilton. The photos dropped down and moved across the stage during key segments and added to each number's expressiveness.

There were some great changes to the well known segments of Bandstand, the piano duels during New York City Rhythm and the segment where Barry talks about his grandfather. I loved how they changed up the Bandstand number and included more dancing by the backup singers. I also thought that the dueling pianos segment was much more of an extravaganza the way they brought out more pianos on stage highlighting the pianists with different types of music. It was great how they started off segments with the sax player and the percussionists as well. But my favorite change was the segment including the story of Barry and his grandfather. Hearing baby Barry sing Nature Boy was a real treat and having Barry end the segment on the keyboard singing the same song was absolutely fabulous.

Although I was looking forward to hearing some 15 Minutes songs, we were treated to a Christmas segment which I thoroughly enjoyed and was so much fun. We were also treated to a new voice from what was heralded as a talent discovery from the video submissions on the Manilow Network. Although the lady was incredibly talented, I found out that she had been on stage before with David Foster and already performed in Las Vegas. It wasn't such a stretch because she seemed to OWN the stage.

The ending of the show was different, with Barry coming on stage for Copacabana in a tux while being raised up from below the stage. Cute, but I still liked the catwalk at the Hilton and the excitement that it seemed to bring to the audience.

Hands down, the best part of the show went on behind me and my daughter during the last few songs. There was an elderly gentleman with a walker sitting behind us and his wife was able to help him stand during the last few numbers. His eyes lit up as he waved his glow stick and sang along with the songs. His wife seemed ecstatic that he was able to participate in the final moments of the show and they were both grinning from ear to ear. I wondered what was his story? Why was he there? How long had he been a fan? And I couldn't help but wonder how much of the show he had missed because of everyone standing up in front of him for a good portion of the show when he wasn't physically able to stand to see.

All in all, I'm glad I got to see the Paris show before he ended his run there. It was a fun night with my daughter and a wonderful memory that I will treasure. It was also great being able to share it with my good friend, even if it was over the phone miles away.

Chalking up the memories,
Texas Fan

P.S. Come back for my last and FINAL Manilow blogs:
December 28-Making those Vegas memories
December 29-Here's to Las Vegas--where did the time go?
December 30-What happens in Vegas...can't stay in Vegas
December 31-It's ALL about the Music


Anonymous said...

So happy that you were finally able to see a show at the Paris and gave us your wonderful perspective of the show and its nuances. You obviously have a very special daughter who cared enough to want you to be there, while also sharing the experience with you. Those times are priceless.

I am looking forward to your upcoming blogs, but I really wish you would reconsider closing your blog. I'm sure there is more insight from your past experiences that people would still enjoy reading. You have a great level of objectivity in such a subjective world of fandom and perspective on the entertainer. It would be such a shame and a loss to people who really enjoy your writings. Please reconsider!

Although there was one thing missing in this piece, your real thoughts on the human theater that was right before your eyes. Come on, you're holding out on us!

Happy Holidays!

texas_fan said...

I'm not holding out...you'll hear all about it in one of the final blogs.

As far as reconsidering closing it out, I think it's time to move on and focus on things that enhance my life, and unfortunately the Manilow fan world is no longer one of them.

For those who enjoy my writing, I'll be blogging about being a grandmother--something that brings me unsurpassed joy.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to hear you will stop posting this blog full of lies and judgements. You of all people have no right to put people down. I believe fans gather at the front to visit with friends - do you have a problem with that? I feel sorry for your grandkids to have such a vindictive and evil person for a grandmother. You should look at yourself in the mirror before you write your judgmental lies. Too bad you can't see the friendships people have formed as a positive thing.

texas_fan said...

How wonderful that you decided to climb out from under your rock and comment. One problem...you did not sign your name. Bullies rarely do, however. I can't say I'm surprised based on past behavior. Whoever you are (should I use initials? K, D, J, M, B) at least have the courage to identify yourself.

I'm sure there will be another brave fan rise up to stand up against the bullies in the Manilow world. I've just decided it's not worth my time or effort. You can't convince a rock that it's a rock if it think's it's a flower.

Oh...and by the way, I have an IP tracker on this blog so I know EXACTLY who posted this little jibe.

texas_fan said...

One more thing "Anonymous"--if you had read my blog (which I know you have) you know that friendships I have formed ARE important to me. But, friendship isn't an excuse to ostracize, exclude, bully, and push people around. The friendships I formed ARE the only thing I will leave this crazy Manilow world with on a positive note. I have no desire to be friends with bullies.

Anonymous said...

If you call sticking up for your friends bullying then so be it. I'm not so stupid as to not know you have a tracker here. I'm not afraid of you or your stupid lies. You do nothing but put people down who don't deserve it. You are a pathetic person. What makes you so knowledgable of the fan world? I have only met you once so how is it you know me so well? You blog about me and my friends without knowing all the facts. And you can leave them out of this, they are much too classy to respond to your stupid lies. They have more class than you will ever know.

texas_fan said...

Thanks for signing your name Kay so everyone can see how hateful you truly are. And you're right, I have never met you and you have never met me, but I've been harassed by you and your little minions for years for speaking out against your bullying on the Barrynet and the Ning network, and at the shows. Standing up for your friends...so that's what you call bullying now. Hmmm...I wonder if all those who have been bullied would see it that way.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and acts like a duck, it's a duck.

Anonymous said...

And you don't call the things you say on your blog about fans bullying and hateful? HELLO?????????? Come on now you can't be that ignorant? I am far from a hateful person. But when people like you write things about me and people I care about I will respond. You said yourself that you don't know me. And what is your problem with people congregating up front before the show? Lots of people do it. It doesn't hurt anyone. I think some of your "friends" sit in the front row and talk before the shows. You just have a problem with me and my friends. You twist and turn things around to suit you. You have done things that in my mind would be a criminal offense that I will not mention on a public blog. What you have done would be considered bullying as well as harassment. Should we talk about that? I'm through posting here. I just hope people see you for who you really are. The sooner you stop spreading lies and blog hurtful things about people you don't even know the better.

texas_fan said...

Rationalize your behavior all you want. It doesn't change anything or the fact that someone had to speak out against it.

Please come back and comment often.I know that my readers are enjoying this lively debate.I will be answering your questions later in a blog post. Thanks for the material!

Anonymous said...

not sure how to follow the comments above, I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful friendship over the years and for allowing me to hear one of the last shows from all the way down under. Your friendship will always be valued.

texas_fan said...

Thanks Kim. I feel the same way. Somewhere down the road, our roads are gonna cross again! I guarantee it!

Anonymous said...

Ouch! I guess you hit a nerve.

Anonymous said...

It is fine to have a difference of opinion but it is not okay to bring a child or grandchild into the discussion. Class goes out the door when you do that. This is the kind of stuff that makes Manilow fans look bad.

A mirror might be in order for this angry poster. Is this all worth it to get this upset?

NighDarke said...

Fans like this KAY are the reason I don't want to meet up with ANY fans at the show in NY. No thanks to all this stupid crap! I'm going to enjoy the show and NY, ALONE. I'm not going to have anything to do with anyone in the fandom there.

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